For a successful winter evening: Snowshoeing & Spa Under the Stars

For a successful winter evening: Snowshoeing & Spa Under the Stars

  • January 18, 2018

For the last few years, Nordik Spa-Nature and Gatineau Park have joined forces to offer evenings outdoors for winter lovers. Every Tuesday evening from January 16 to March 6, Nordik is offering the Snowshoeing & Spa Under the Stars package for $65, which includes snowshoes, the hike, and spa access. As a February baby, I’m proud to declare that I’m one of those people who love the coldest season of the year. I love snowshoeing and I love the spa. You could say that this package was made for me, so I absolutely wanted to sign up!

I suggested to my colleagues that we should go and try the experience together, as a way to start the new year off on the right foot. I was overjoyed when they all accepted my invitation. So, on Tuesday, January 9, we went off on our winter outing, which combined athletic activity, discovery, and relaxation. Here’s the story of our wildly successful evening!

A breath of fresh air after work

After a long day at the office, we all zipped up into our snowsuits and met up at the Visitor Centre at 33 Scott Road, in Chelsea. Lori Bennett, our nature guide from the Friends of Gatineau Park, was waiting for us. The sun was just setting, and the forest was settling in for the night. It was calm, the weather was perfect, and we were ready to strap on our snowshoes and headlamps. The snowshoes are included in the package, as the park loans them out to participants; but you can bring your own if you prefer.

And off we went! It feels great to take a breath of the crisp winter air at the end of the day. It’s an excellent way to relieve your accumulated stress. I truly recommend it. The course is 3 km long and the hike takes about an hour. Not too long, not too short. It’s just right.

We learn something new every day…

Throughout our adventure, Lori helped us discover the park through animal tracks and showed us how they survive our harsh winters. It was really fascinating; a great combination of physical activity and learning.

For example, did you know that black bear cubs are no bigger than a puppy when they’re born? It was really surprising to me. We learned that while bears mate in June, fertilization itself doesn’t actually happen until November, and only does if the female has enough fat stores to survive the winter. During the months in between, the embryos float in the mother’s uterus without attaching to the wall. Bear cubs are born in February, just a few months after fertilization. At birth, the cubs are tiny and underdeveloped. It’s thanks to nursing that they continue their gestation. The den therefore becomes a sort of incubator while they finish developing into proper cubs.

Time to relax

After the hike, we gave our snowshoes back to Lori and took a few pictures before heading to the spa. Since we were a small group, we decided to opt for the Panorama section, the social zone, where we enjoyed some champagne in Näkymä, the panoramic pool. The sensation one gets from dipping into a hot pool, with cheeks still red from the cold, is indescribable. It feels so good!

We took this opportunity to raise a glass to the new year and to share our wishes for wellness and good health. We also agreed to meet up more often like this, after work, to enjoy some great moments as colleagues and strengthen our bond. I recommend it for everyone. We spend so much time working together, so it’s important to have fun, move, and relax, too.

We took a bite at the Panorama Lounge. I have to admit, I’m always weak for a Buddha Bowl. It’s fresh, delicious, savoury, and colourful. It’s perfect! I was so hungry after snowshoeing and the hot pool.

We enjoyed some physical activity in the open air, we learned something, we laughed a lot, we relaxed, and we ate well. That’s what I call enjoying winter at the fullest. It was a totally successful winter evening!

My advice:

  • Since the hike has a lot of educational stops regarding plants and animals along the way, I recommend dressing warmly;
  • I also recommend bringing a headlamp if the moon isn’t out during your hike;
  • Although the route is a pretty easy one, you may want to take ski poles for the slight slopes;
  • Since these hikes are scheduled for the early evening and you’ll head to the spa afterwards, have a snack before strapping on your snowshoes and bring some water;
  • Bring a second tuque to wear at the spa;
  • This hike is great for colleagues, friends, or just with your partner;
  • The hike is offered in Francophone and Anglophone groups. Groups are limited to 15 people and spots go fast;
  • Book online now.

Learn more about Snowshoeing & Spa Under the Stars.


Anne-Marie Charron
Wellness blogger and winter lover